Secret Sauce: Broiled Polenta Bites with Green Harissa and Feta

Remember when you first discovered almond butter? And suddenly any and everything worked with almond butter? With honey, bananas, and toast, check. Added to miso dressing – you betcha. Tossed with red curry and pumpkin? You know it!

Well, this green harissa has that same thing going on — I make a batch and suddenly I’m using it everywhere: paired with roasted squash, dolloped on carrot risotto, slathered on seared lamb chops, spread on a prosciutto mozzarella panino, or even just atop toast with mashed avocado. What I’m saying is it’s your BFF in the kitchen because it makes everything taste better.

Polenta Bites with Green Harissa from

I don’t know about you but I had never heard of green harissa until my Persian friend, Hoss, served it to me at his restaurant. Hoss opened his restaurant around the corner from the CHOW offices back when I worked in their test kitchens and we met over a lunch when he was hanging around. We became instant friends because he’s one of the nicest people ever to walk the earth and because I’ve got a love-you-long-time obsession with Persian food. I think I’ve told you that one of my first boyfriends was Persian so I learned to cook kebab and pomegranate-walnut braised chicken way back when.

Anyway, green harissa is a Persian condiment that shares a name with North African harissa but is way more mellow — like Middle Eastern pesto to red harissa‘s Sriracha-like heat. The other day I made a bowl of my go-to cold weather polenta and topped it with some leftover harissa and two bites in the light bulb went off — that these would be awesome as holiday appetizers!

Hence these Broiled Polenta Bites with Green Harissa and Feta. Let me leave you with this: I don’t like to pick recipe favorites but, if I had to choose a condiment of the year, it’d definitely go to this Green Harissa. Now I’ll just have to serve it to the fam on Christmas Eve to see if they agree!